In Springfield, Illinois September 24, 2016
I look forward to the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s in my hometown. It’s gratifying to see people come together in the community for a shared cause—hope for a world without Alzheimer’s. This year I was on the committee to help plan the event too. Thankfully the weather cooperated and the day was almost too warm with no sign of the wicked breeze responsible for the event location name—Southwind Park.
During the opening ceremony I was honored as an Alzheimer’s advocate in recognition of my book Brought To Our Senses, to be released on November 1st. From the presentation stage, I raised my orange flower on cue and watched the orange flowers of my comrades in advocacy shoot up from the crowd along with applause. How thrilling—a proud but also humbling moment for me. So many do what they can to raise awareness, to educate, to inspire, and to help others affected by dementia in some way. I am but a small cog in a big wheel that needs to gain so much more speed.
Two sisters were also recognized during the opening ceremony as Alzheimer’s caregivers. I learned their mother had recently been placed in a nursing home as her needs became too much to manage at home. Even with the professional help of a facility with a good reputation, one sister confided, “Each day is a new struggle.” And I felt a wave of panic in the pit of my stomach because I remember feeling overwhelmed and helpless with difficulties that drag on for what seems like an eternity. The crowd saluted these brave and beautiful caregivers with their yellow flowers in a gesture of support, and I offered my own prayer for God to see them through their journey.
A Special Event
At this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I reconnected with some old friends and was delighted to make some new acquaintances too. Most importantly, the event reminded me just how many people are affected by dementia, evident by the large turnout and moving stories I heard. I’d like to thank the Greater Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for hosting such an inspirational and motivational event once again. Well done.